Skip to main content

tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  April 11, 2017 2:30am-3:01am BST

2:30 am
i'm mike embley. there is growing international pressure on russia to abandon its support for syria's president assad, in the wake of last week's chemical attack. foreign ministers from the g7 group have been meeting in italy, trying for a co—ordinated response — which could include new sanctions on moscow and damascus. the american carrier, united airlines, has been criticised for having one of its passengers dragged off a flight in chicago. the airline had overbooked the plane, and when no—one volunteered to leave, to let some of united's staff on board, they selected the man and his travelling companion at random. the oil company shell has admitted that they dealt with a convicted money—launderer when negotiating access to a vast oil field off the coast of nigeria in 2011. shell went ahead with the deal even though they were on probation for their involvement in a separate corruption case in nigeria. now it's time for hardtalk. when it comes to seeking justice for
2:31 am
some of the wrongs committed by americanjustice, the some of the wrongs committed by american justice, the record some of the wrongs committed by americanjustice, the record hasn't a lwa ys americanjustice, the record hasn't always been that good. my guest today flew into the middle of the massacre in vietnam and stopped the slaughter. it was more than 30 years before anybody even bother to say thank you. as the us military now learned the lessons he should have done from vietnam? hugh thompson, are very warm welcome to the programme. when you hear allegations of brutality by us troops in iraq, delhi to respect the geneva conventions, what goes through your —— max bailey. conventions, what goes through your -- max bailey. dad -- failure. --
2:32 am
bad leadership. how could something happen ladies in the prison that seems to have happened —— happened in prison. it shouldn't have happened. in 1991, commanders were told that when they went to desert storm, no my lai... that told that when they went to desert storm, no my lai. .. that made me feel good echoes i thought we had learnt something. —— because. to get slapped in the face with this, it is horrendous. you think there will be a full investigation? you have been pa rt a full investigation? you have been part of investigations in the past. allah think there will be a full investigation. --i think they're well. what i knew wasn't made public
2:33 am
till afterwards. this didn't take that long. so it's out there. technology is better and i think this could be an investigation. having people in the military careers are having people in the military careers a re really having people in the military careers are really ruined. i do think they will walk scot—free this time, i really don't. when president nixon first commented on the my lai massacre, he said it was an isolated is that —— incident. was it?|j massacre, he said it was an isolated is that -- incident. was it? i think it was. i would have very difficult time with myself if i thought that i was part of something that was done all the time. i didn't see it. innocent civilians do get killed in wars. i don't care what army, what country... but my lai wasn't that,
2:34 am
was it? no, it wasn't. these were murdered. lined up, marched down in a ditch. 170 of them. hands above their head and executed. that is not war. that is not what a soldier from any country does. these are murderers. were you taught about the geneva conventions? yes, sir. in 1971, a soldier goes before a jury and said he couldn't remember a single army class on the geneva convention. his name was rusty kali. the one man who was found guilty of the my lai massacre. i would say he has a very short memory. i will not say a lot of emphasis went on those classes. anyone who went through basic training, just had some
2:35 am
instructions. code of conduct, geneva conventions and treatment of... and it know what it was called. treatment of prisoners. but standards were set. but i won't say they emphasised them a lot or really delved into it. it was more or less, you know, you had to go to this class. it wasn't, you know... it wasn't a lot of emphasis is being put on it. hugh thompson, march 16, 1960 eight, 36 years have gone past. how clear in your mind are the memories of that day? certain things to clear. 0ther memories of that day? certain things to clear. other things not clear. what is clear? when you shut your eyes, what do you see? a lot of pain
2:36 am
and suffering by a lot of people. i remember the first girl getting killed. how was it she killed? medina walked up and blew her away. this is one of the commanding officers on the ground? commanding officer. he shot her at point-blank range? you saw it in front of your eyes? yes. we were just kind of in shock because by that time, we had already questioned what was going on or what we have seen happen or seen the aftermath of what had actually happened. but when you landed your helicopter, it started all over again or were still going on? yes. 0n again or were still going on? yes. on two different occasions, and then we asked the help and i got a girl
2:37 am
killed and then we asked the help again and we got a bunch of people killed so it was kind of obvious that asking when getting a mission a —— accomplished like i thought it had been... so these people shot right in front of your eyes and at some point you said enough and you asked your men to turn your their guns on the american soldiers that we re guns on the american soldiers that were doing this. yes, sir. we had tried to... i wouldn't say be nice and friendly but i had asked and we just kind of light append animal in a cage, i guess. the only way i can think of to get it to stop. if
2:38 am
that's what it would take. that's what we would have to do. were you prepared to open fire on fellow american soldiers? killam —— yes. prepared to open fire on fellow american soldiers? killam —— yeslj thank god to this date and a lot of daysin thank god to this date and a lot of days in between that everybody played it cool and nobody started shooting because i would really hate to have that on my conscience. but it was something we didn't volunteer to do. it was an only way out. i felt like we had to take it. you said in one of the reports that a lot of the girls didn't scream too much because they had already had their tongues cut out. a bayonet can kill two real quick if they up pregnant. this is beast yellow tea
2:39 am
on an unbelievable scale, isn't it? —— —— bestiality. 0ne on an unbelievable scale, isn't it? —— —— bestiality. one who took around right through the brain. there was a lot of evil. how do you carry around the memory of that for 36 years? went for a long time just, didn't say anything. and most of the time i'm thinking about it now, i'm talking to a class of students and ifi talking to a class of students and if i can reach one person in that class and make them think to do the right thing, it will be worth it. do you have any explanation for why presumably previously normal people
2:40 am
could have butchered their way through over 500 unarmed civilians on that day? i blame the number one cause, bad leadership. negative leadership, bad leadership. that these people killed with their hands, didn't they? they raked in a murdered. how do you explain soldiers doing that? the leadership that allows them to do it, negative peer pressure, prejudiced___ that allows them to do it, negative peer pi’essui’e, prejudiced... cf. that allows them to do it, negative peer pressure, prejudiced... cf. —— fear. not everybody on the ground that they took part in it. we put about 190 people on the ground. 0nly somewhere between 13 or 18 of them
2:41 am
actually took part in what was going on. the others didn't do anything to stop it, just kind of turned the other way. you knew what was going on. you could follow whether squads went —— where the. on. you could follow whether squads went -- where the. when you got it to stop, when he threatened your fellow us soldiers and you got it to stop, he called in assistance, you called into gunship, you managed to get some children out and get some survivors out. civilians, they were children with them. men, women. i remember the one little girl. she was hanging onto her mother ‘s knee. no, she was probably for six. "4 or
2:42 am
six. i could only see three. when they started coming out, reality started coming in. what in the world are going to do with these people? i can't leave them here. they are going to die. i can't get them out of there, i don't have the capability. that's when i called a friend of mine in and i said, hey, do mea friend of mine in and i said, hey, do me a favour and get them out of the area. you got them out and then flew back to headquarters. what did you do then? was very mad. you are crying, won't you? yeah. screaming. and people who outranked me, just lost it. you can't make me fly. to
2:43 am
show that you are a pilot, you had a set of wings. you wanted to leave. i saidi set of wings. you wanted to leave. i said i would rip my wings off because they didn't want to take pa rt because they didn't want to take part in this. there was an investigation. i think i thought something had been done. but it was a whitewash because the official army report, the first army report that claimed avec —— great victory and said 128 enemies dead and only one american casualties. but they knew better because they had your evidence. yes. i cannot remember... everyone lined, did —— didn't they? -- light. -- lied. everyone lined, did —— didn't they? —— light. —— lied. there was a report that 20 civilians had been
2:44 am
killed inadvertently. that was a straight lie, wasn't it? and captain medina light, as well. and admitted later in the end that he had lied. he was the one seen shooting a girl. his scenario when he was on his court martial, they believed his scenario rather than mine, i guess. you stayed 13 years in the service after that. it was in the same, though, was it? as fast as it came up though, was it? as fast as it came up after the court marshalling died down. that you ostracised. when it first broke and people didn't know the facts, they forgot all about it very the facts, they forgot all about it very soon the facts, they forgot all about it very soon after it happened. but personally, you paid a heavy price
2:45 am
in terms of depression, over the yea rs. in terms of depression, over the years. a in terms of depression, over the yea rs. a lot in terms of depression, over the years. a lot of nightmares that you went through. four marriages. there has been multiple marriages. it's been hard for you to carry around? no, life goes on. can you ever forgive the people who did that? note. -- no. nope, i can't. i don't think i am man enough to. i know the pain and suffering that was inflicted for no reason, no reason whatsoever. there was no threat. you know, there was no enemy. they might have grown up to be enemy, but that's not what a soldier does in any country. it's just not.
2:46 am
that's not what a soldier does in any country. it'sjust not. and when you think of those who walked away from it, got on with their lives, had children, set up businesses. they've got to live with themselves. iimagine they've got to live with themselves. i imagine some of them don't have an easy time. i'm 0k i imagine some of them don't have an easy time. i'm ok with what i did. i just, you know, know the unnecessary pain and suffering and know how fragile human life is. in 1969, rusty, the officer on the ground who was eventually held responsible, was flown back for an identification parade. you were asked to identify him. what went through your mind? just... well, i knew i'd seen him and i
2:47 am
couldn't remember whether it was at the ditch or the bunker. i knew he was one of them. i blocked a lot of that out of my mind. i think it is god's way of maintaining sanity. 0nly god's way of maintaining sanity. only 25 officers and enlisted men we re only 25 officers and enlisted men were prosecuted. 0nly only 25 officers and enlisted men were prosecuted. only a handful of them came to trial. 0nly were prosecuted. only a handful of them came to trial. only one man was found guilty and he served four and a half months behind bars. i think three days. three days? and a little bit of house arrest. yes, he had house arrest with conjugal visits. that's a rough life. this was a farce. army justice was a farce. the
2:48 am
army justice system is farce. army justice was a farce. the armyjustice system is a good system but i do believe it let us down. i think it let the army and the united states down. it let you down as well, didn't it? yeah, mm-hm. not many people said thank you, did they? nobody said thank you. you we re they? nobody said thank you. you were intimidated, dead animals left on your porch, one of the congressmen suggested you should be put behind bars. mm-hm. so you didn't get much banks from a grateful nation. i didn't get any. but it's not the nation's fault. but you stop the killing and rusty calley and the then governor of georgia was rooting for him, radio stations were proclaiming him as a hero and due to stop the killing had
2:49 am
been ostracised. yeah, i had a hard time going into georgia because that's where calley was court marshalled and i think he is originally from florida and iron a georgian native. and i am hearing my governor on the radio saying, leave your lights on today to show support for lieutenant—governor on. i thought, what is this world coming to? —— lieutenant calley. but people didn't have the fax. you believed the fax a high—ranking congressmen says, it should be true. but low ranking congressmen were standing off to the side and asked one another, was here in the same room i was in? because they heard that i said there was a massacre and there
2:50 am
was nothing here to indicate there was nothing here to indicate there was any wrongdoing. i couldn't say anything because believe me i was scared and i thought i was going to go to jail. so i wasn't talking to anybody. hugh thompson, he went back to my lai. he went back on the 30th anniversary. there was no official representative from the american government. not one.|j representative from the american government. not one. iguessi representative from the american government. not one. iguess i would be the only representative of the american government there. you met one of the women who survived, several people who survived. what did they say to you? thanked me. one of them came from out of nowhere, we didn't know she was there. an interpreter brought her up. she wa nted interpreter brought her up. she wanted to meet mr thomson. everyone
2:51 am
was kind of shocked. mr wallace said, here is mr thomson. she wanted to know why i was very upset. i couldn't answer, sorry i couldn't help. i had always wondered in my mind... did somebody there know that not all americans were crazy and went mad that day? i wonder if somebody was trying to help. and i was real happy when she knew we tried to help. and she thanked me andi tried to help. and she thanked me and i told her how —— i was sorry i couldn't help that they and then going through the interpreter was really difficult because they only say like half a sentence at a time. she asked, why didn't the people
2:52 am
that had done the killing comeback with us? and i lost it. i thought, how do you answer this? i was getting ready to and then she finished the sentence and said, so we could forgive them. oh my god... it was over with for me right then because it just it was over with for me right then because itjust tore me up. these people. not many people have that much forgiveness in their hearts and i'm not man enough to forgive the people who did it. i can't do it. but you lecture, you've lectured in various places. i call it talking. i don't lecture. you've counselled. i still work with veterans every day. trying to help them. and what do you tell them about my lai?|j
2:53 am
trying to help them. and what do you tell them about my lai? i don't tell them anything. now some of the ones know about it, well, all of them do i guess. i have never talked at a military or a veterans function where anybody had agreed with me. you know... i'm not... i don't cut down the brigade or soldier. i think a soldier in the army or navy or marine corps are very vulnerable profession. —— honourable. these we re profession. —— honourable. these were not soldiers, these were hoodlums and terrorists, the skies like soldiers. no soldier is taught to do that. —— disguised. if he does
2:54 am
something like that he's no longer a soldier, he is not living by the creed of a soldier. i think it's time to remind people of that, given what's been going on in iraq.|j think very obviously it's time to remind the game. hugh thompson, it's been good having you on the programme. thank you. thank you very much. i appreciate it. good morning. sunday was the warmest day of the year so far, with 25 degrees, 77 fahrenheit recorded, so whatever the weather on monday, it could have been a little bit disappointing, or was it? 0n the whole, not too bad across the south coast, as you can see from this weather watchers picture, and temperatures peaked at 16 celsius, which, with the sunshine, still felt reasonably pleasant. different story, though, in the highlands of scotland,
2:55 am
a grey, bleak day and it looks like we're likely to see more cloud and outbreaks of rain into the north—west today. the wind swinging round to a bit more of a westerly, so that will take the edge off the feel of things as well but with some sunshine, not too bad on the whole, cloud and rain continuing out into the far north—west of the great glen in particular. top temperatures of around 11—16 degrees. as we move out of tuesday into wednesday, we'll see a series of weather fronts slipping their way steadily south and the winds pivot round more to a north—westerly, that will make it feel that little bit fresher on exposed coasts, especially as the winds will strengthen gusting to gale force wind in the far north and west. with those weather fronts slowly slipping their way south it will bring showery outbreaks of rain, nothing particularly heavy but a bit of a nuisance. top temperatures of 10—16 the high. so that's the story through wednesday, but with clearer skies through the night we could in rural spots sea temperatures into low
2:56 am
single figures. a touch of light frost not out of the question for thursday morning but some sunshine in central and eastern areas before cloud and showery outbreaks of rain gather again from the north and west. so there's a bit of a theme developing as we head towards easter weekend. the jet streams slicing the country into two and always coming from a north—westerly direction so a colder source, low pressure out to the east, high pressure to the west and the settled weather is likely to be in south—western areas. but, with that north—westerly flow, the chances are temperatures are going to dip a bit into the easter weekend and perhaps just below where they should be at this time of year. but we could be heading for that classic case of sunshine and april showers, so if you catch the sunnier moments, the sunshine is quite strong and it will feel reasonably pleasant from time to time. so on good friday, another weak weather front making its way slowly south across the country, sunny spells and scattered showers following on behind, 7—15 the high. into saturday, the start of the easter weekend, well, again it's predominantly cloudy, but a good deal of dry weather in the story, but that cool north—westerly breeze as well. take care.
2:57 am
welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is mike embley. our top stories: g7 foreign ministers increase pressure on russia to abandon its support for syria's president. oh, my god! smartphones capture the moment a passenger is forcibly dragged off an overbooked united airlines flight. the firm issues a sort of apology but there is outrage online. the oil giant shell admits dealing with a convicted money—launderer to negotiate access to a vast offshore oilfield in nigeria. and thousands of police line the streets of london for the funeral of pc keith palmer, killed in the westminster terror attack.
2:58 am
2:59 am
3:00 am

20 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on